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One in four people over the age of 18 report chronic joint pain.¹
Joint pain is a very common problem that can be caused by anything from trivial injuries like stresses or strains to longer term conditions. This type of pain increases as we get older and is most prevalent in the 65-to-74-age group. Joint pain is most likely to be reported in the knee and shoulder joints.
Although joint aches and pains have many possible causes, they are most frequently the result of injury (during exercise, for example) or as a result of a condition like arthritis. Some of the most typical reasons for joint pain include:
Osteoarthritis – The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining of a joint and can even start to break it down. If major loss of the cartilage occurs, bone will rub directly onto bone, eventually changing the joint’s shape and causing pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis – This less-common form of arthritis causes the body’s immune system to target joints, which can lead to the breakdown of the bone and cartilage – and to pain and swelling.
Joint lining inflammation – When a joint gets injured, for example over-stretching in a sports setting, the tissue lining the joints and tendons can become inflamed and painful.
Bleeding into joint space – Injuries like torn ligaments or fractures may, in some circumstances, lead to painful bleeding in the joint spaces, called hemarthrosis.
Gout – A distinct form of arthritis, gout can cause sudden, sever pain in the joint and is notable for hot, swollen red skin over the affected area.
If you’re suffering from mild joint pain, some of the most common symptoms include:
However, if the following more serious symptoms occur, you should seek medical attention:
While it may seem counterintuitive, if you are suffering with the swelling and stiffness associated with joint pain, it’s important to keep active. This is true when managing almost any kind of pain but is particularly relevant for joint pain where low-impact exercise helps to prevent the joint from stiffening up. Recommend activities are:
There are also medical treatments that you can investigate with the help of your GP. For example: